Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
People in glasshouses? Amber Rudd, not so long ago in charge of implementing the Home Office's hostile environment policy towards immigrants, has accused local Labour of anti-semitism.

People in glasshouses? Amber Rudd, not so long ago in charge of implementing the Home Office’s hostile environment policy towards immigrants, has accused local Labour of anti-semitism.

Local Labour denies Rudd’s accusations of anti-semitism

Hastings MP Amber Rudd has accused the local Labour Party of anti-semitism, a charge which the constituency party denies. Meanwhile Ms Rudd’s own Conservative Party has been accused of being institutionally Islamophobic. Nick Terdre reports.

Ms Rudd, who is also the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, accused the local Labour Party of “repeated and flagrant acts of Jew baiting,” and called on Labour’s leader and deputy leader, Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson, to ban it.

The constituency party was “obsessed with peddling conspiracy theories about Jewish people” and had “deliberately goaded and baited Jews with hateful language,” she is reported to have said.

Ms Rudd’s comments were apparently made in response to an emergency motion passed by the Constituency Labour Party (CLP) calling for MP Chris Williamson, who was suspended for suggesting the party leadership had “given too much ground” in the face of criticisms of anti-semitism, to be reinstated.

“I reject entirely Amber Rudd’s claims about our local party,” Ken Maitland, chair of Hastings and Rye CLP, said in a statement. “We are a vibrant, welcoming and diverse local party which is absolutely committed to fighting racism and antisemitism.

“Anti-semites are a tiny minority within our party of over half a million people but one anti-semite is too many. Polling has shown that anti-semitic attitudes are higher among Conservative voters than Labour voters so clearly all parties must work together to tackle this prejudice across the political spectrum.”

“Close relationship with Jewish community”

“We are very pleased to have a close relationship with members of the local Jewish community and the many active Jewish members in our CLP. We will always ensure our meetings are welcoming, comradely and without any discrimination.”

The emergency motion was passed “in the context of what many people in the party see, in this instance, as an unfair over-reaction in the anti-semitism debate and should not be taken as a sign that the party does not take attacks on Jewish people other than very, very seriously,” a member told HOT.

The motion, which claimed there was an “orchestrated campaign” against the party over allegations of anti-semitism, was proposed by a Jewish member.

Local councillor Dany Louise last month resigned from the Labour Party claiming that it was “institutionally anti-semitic.” She declined to comment on whether she was aware of instances on anti-semitism in the local party, though Cllr Peter Chowney told HOT he knew of “No evidence of anti-semitism in the local party.”

While media attention has been focused on Labour’s travails with alleged anti-semitism, a YouGov poll in 2017 found anti-semitic sentiments more prevalent among Tory voters than Labour and Liberal Democrats.

At the same time as she launched her attack on the local Labour party, Ms Rudd referred in a radio interview to MP Diane Abbott as a “coloured woman,” prompting Ms Abbott to respond, “The term ‘coloured’ is an outdated, offensive and revealing choice of words.” Ms Rudd apologised for her “clumsy language.”

Tory party “institutionally Islamophobic”

Now the Conservative Party has been accused by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the first female Muslim Cabinet member, of being institutionally Islamophobic. At the time 14 members had been suspended for allegedly making Islamophobic comments on Facebook.

Last July Baroness Warsi called for an independent inquiry into Islamophobia in the party, but then as now, there has been little reaction beyond denials that there was a significant problem from leading figures such as the party chairman Brandon Lewis, and her accusations have received little traction in the national media.

In the latest development Mr Lewis has been accused of taking no action over 10 newly identified cases of online abuse against Muslims, including one party member who is reported to have written, “We’ll be a Muslim country under sharia law if Labour get in.”

Ms Rudd was asked to comment on Baroness Warsi’s claims, and whether she was aware of any instances of Islamophobia in the local Conservative Association, but no reply had been received when this article was published.


Posted 14:34 Sunday, Mar 17, 2019 In: Politics

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